At 74-years-old, Ralph Lauren is still one of the mist iconic designers in fashion. In the hip-hop world, it’s hard to think of a time period when Polo wasn’t relevant in some form or fashion. Recently, Ralph was recognized by the Smithsonian Institute for his iconic career and received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal “for his embodiment of the American experience” and for “supporting artistry, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship for more than five decades.” Luckily for the ‘Lo heads, the AP scooped up a lengthy interview with the gawd.
On what his inspirations are:
“I grew up inspired by America, inspired by the West, inspired by the Adirondacks, inspired by African-Americans, soldiers—life that I saw—the native Americans. I saw a world that was different, and I was inspired.”
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On what it was about the world of fashion that attracted him:
“Luck. No, you know I never went to fashion school. I somehow was a young guy, grew up in the Bronx and … I don’t know how I can put it together, whether it’s movies or it’s being in a world where you can read books and go to movies and dream.
“Also being the youngest child in the family and getting all hand-me-downs and sort of saying, ‘Wait a minute, I want my own clothes.’ So when your parents are not able to afford the kind of clothes as a kid growing up, I had to work myself and earn my way and buy my own things. I just wanted to look like one of the guys and have the girls look at me.”
On what the high points in his career are:
“I started with neckties, which are a very small thing and people aren’t even wearing them today. Neckties helped start my career. When a man wore a tie, it had to make a statement.
“I think every time I created a new brand, from men’s to women’s to children to home, they were interesting elements. My clothes are not about fashion. They’re about living. They’re about how you live and how you want to live. And they’re not about in and out fashion that’s trendy or the hot news of the day.
“I think most people want stability. They want to feel that if they go out and buy something, they want good quality, good value for their money. They don’t want to spend it frivolously and find that it’s out of style.”
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